This Week in Logistics News (August 8-12, 2016)

What do you do when the heat index is 103F outside, the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory, and your central air conditioner is still broken?

You get your work done as quickly as possible and head for somewhere cool fast, so without delay, here is the supply chain and logistics news that caught my attention this week:

As I wrote about recently, several startups have launched in recent years aiming to become “the Uber of Trucking” — or at least that’s the way the media and analysts like to characterize these startups that are leveraging mobile app technology to bring shippers and carriers together to facilitate the movement of goods. However, building an app is the easy part; the bigger challenge is building a community of shippers and carriers to use it, and that’s one of the advantages entrenched industry leaders like C.H. Robinson have over these startups. The company announced this week the release of Navisphere® Carrier, “a new mobile app designed to support contract motor carriers and their business.” Here are some details from the press release, along with a short video overview:

This on-demand technology –built with contract carriers for contract carriers – was developed to support the more than 50,000 small carrier businesses C.H. Robinson works with. The technology is available on Apple and Android mobile devices, enabling carriers to run their businesses in ways that matter most: accessibility wherever and whenever they need it, increased connectivity to their drivers and C.H. Robinson, expanded planning capabilities and expedited payment processes.

You have the app, you have the community, but how do you get carriers/drivers to actually download the app and use it? With an ever-growing number of mobile apps aimed at carriers on the market — from startups, logistics service providers, and transportation management system (TMS) vendors — which ones will they actually download onto their phones and use consistently, and why? Time and more research will tell.

Freight Audit may not be the sexiest aspect of transportation management, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t play a critical role in helping companies effectively manage and control their transportation spend, as well as provide valuable insight to drive continuous improvement.

Business Intelligence and analytics are playing a more critical role in freight audit, as I discussed with Stephen Craig and Sarah Riblon from enVista in a recent episode of Talking Logistics. enVista announced this week that it has added five new dashboards comprised of over 20 new charts to its proprietary freight audit and payment solution. Here are some excerpts from the press release:

Dashboards are a valuable component of myShipINFO®, enVista’s private cloud, web-based global freight audit and payment solution…The new dashboards highlight a variety of data points, including net spend, audit activity, network analysis, shipment overview and annual summary details. They are designed to allow the shipper to see data graphs at the highest corporate level or at a more granular data set selected by the user. The dashboards also feature drill down functionality all the way to the shipment level. In addition to these features, the dashboard reports and charts are exportable, allowing the user to easily share the charts or embed them in presentations.

How are companies leveraging the insight they’re gaining from these tools to drive continuous improvement and realize business benefits? Stephen Craig shared some examples during the episode, which I’ll write about in an upcoming post, but if you can’t wait for the answer, I encourage you to watch the episode now.

And with that, have a happy (and cool) weekend!

Song of the Week: “Sunshine in the Shade” by The Fixx

Note: C.H. Robinson and enVista are Talking Logistics sponsors.